Gina Lawless Books

October 14, 2012

Summer’s Over. Now Get Your Damn E-Readers Working.

No more laying on the beach in your tiny bikinis, and worrying if your bikini line has been shaved properly! Unless, of course you have a hot date tonight. In that case: wax on!

Now is the time to load up your e-readers with some good reads and cozy up with your favorite blankie. This is one reason I love the cooler months. I can read without feeling guilty that I should be outside doing something constructive with my yard. I have no idea why I would feel guilty when I have no garden to tend. I gave up on that last summer when my topsy-turvy tomatoes turned black on one end looking like some grotesque monster eyeball. I did get to use the tomatoes for target practice though. So, I said to hell with this mess. I’ll buy my tomatoes from Mexico and pretend they taste like the home-grown sort. Right.

I’m digressing again! E-readers! My books are uploaded through Smashwords, and distributed to Nook, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Barnes and Noble. My question to all of my lovely readers is this: What e-reader do you use?

The reason I ask, is because I’m considering going through Amazon for my next book to see how it works. All I hear is Kindle this, and Kindle that. I personally own a Nook Color, which I absolutely adore, and anything that is sold through Amazon is sold through B&N. I’m don’t feel like I’m getting jipped in that respect. However, when it comes to book sales of my own, I sometimes feel like a fart in the wind.

Or are you one of the romantic few who still must have a book made of trees? I still read those old-fashioned kind of books, of course. But, the really weird part is this. I bought and am reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is an excellent book, by the way if you haven’t read it yet. Anyway, I’m physically holding this book and struggling to hold the book open. Did you get that? I’m struggling to hold the book open!!! Yesterday morning, I awoke to find my left thumb was a bit sore. I’m asking myself what I did to cause this. Ahhh! It dawned on my this morning. I was reading a paperback book! Strange, but true.

Pipe up and give me some feedback on your thoughts about e-readers and perhaps your experience with Amazon.

Don’t click the “Submit” button on the inserted picture. 🙂

September 30, 2012

Speak English Please! Or Is It Greek?

Some years back, I took a medical terminology course that opened my eyeballs to a fact that I’m not sure many people know, or realize.  Those of you that do, I apologize profusely.

Our English language (one of the most widely used languages in the world) originates mainly from Greek and Latin words.  It consists of prefixes, root words and suffixes, to make one word with meaning.

Take the following words for example:

abduction

introduction

production

reduction

deduction

All these words have the Latin root word duc in common, which means to lead. We all know what they mean, but the neat thing is when broken down, we can see the formation of separate meanings.

Ab: means away

Intro: means within

Pro: means before or for

Re: means again or back

De: means away, down or removing

And then, we can’t forget our little suffix: tion, which means, the process of.

They all have the root word in common, but all have different meanings using a prefix. I think it’s absolutely stellar (Latin root word meaning star, and suffix meaning pertains to).

Constellation: Con: with or together   stell: star  and of course, let’s not forget tion: process of.  The process of stars together. The Latins and Greeks made it sound so simple, but the process of putting parts of words together to make different words and meanings is so cool, I find. I may sound like a weirdo, but this is fun for me. It’s never-ending how many words can be made.

Now, I’m going to make up a word, hopefully no one has seen before using a prefix, root word and a suffix. Those of you who write fantasy, comics or gamers may appreciate this. My word is: Maximacrochelanolysis

Break down please:

Maxim: greatest

Acro: pungent or sharp

Chelan: turtle

Lysis: to dissolve

So now, I’ve created a great big dissolving pungent turtle! The possibilities are endless to create fantasy characters, and monsters. Give it a try. Let’s see what you can come up with!

September 15, 2012

Short Story For Free

I have set the short story The Last Year and a Half  for free. No coupon codes to enter…just free. I figure if the darn thing didn’t take me that long to write, I shouldn’t charge for it. If you do decide to give it a read though, it would be great if you could leave me a review at Smashwords. Good, bad or indifferent, I want to hear what you think. It only helps in the writing process to get feedback from you.

Warning: Explicit language!

September 13, 2012

Business Card Frenzy

I had these business cards made up quickly and cheaply at VistaPrint for only the cost of shipping.

In an effort to recoup my $10.00, I ran around my town…well…I didn’t actually run, but everyone I spoke to, I handed them a business card or two, and asked them to spread the word. The design is simple, but straightforward. It was exciting to actually speak to people face to face to promote myself, and it was exciting to see their excitement. I love these little tax deductions!

Have some made up, carry them with you everywhere you go. Supermarket, gas stations, libraries, the local tavern, the bank, work, neighbors. Whomever you can accost. You’d be surprised at how much support and encouragement you can gain this way.

August 26, 2012

My Biological Clock

I often wonder if other people feel the pressure of time as I do. No, I’m not talking about how many eggs I have left (not many, I don’t think. I hope not anyway) but, the pressure of how many hours in a day to get something accomplished, before the day dies off. Then, ultimately how many days I have left before the batteries of my life expire.

I believe that I push myself way too hard. If I don’t, who will? As an independent author, I am pressured to get as many books out as I can before that clock stops. And in the race, I hope I am not sacrificing quality for quantity. I think the  revolution of independent authorship has changed exponentially over the course of the last ten years. Mostly, for the good.

  • How many books can I get out in a year?
  • How many words have I written today?
  • How many blog posts can I squeeze in this week?
  • How many people can I connect with in a day?
  • Did I feed my dog today? Oops, sorry Little Pug…here’s some bits of steak for my guilt!

I love writing. I’ve loved it since I was a young girl. There were no pressures in those days feeling like you’re going to live forever. The time has passed far too quickly for my tastes, and now that I’m nearing the downhill race, my OCD tendencies are getting the better of me. I had to give myself a little pep talk to look at the big picture. If I look at it through a microscope, it seems small and menial, that I haven’t accomplished anything thus far. If I can look at it through the mirror (my husband always tells me to mirror-image myself) it makes me feel accomplished. I said accomplished! Not satisfied!

More than likely, I won’t feel satisfied…ever. That aspect doesn’t need a pep talk. It needs a slap in the head!

The last few weeks, I’ve been working feverishly on The Veil, pressuring myself to a goal of finishing it by the end of fall on top of writing a sequel to Harbinger. The pep talk I gave myself was that even though I have put this goal in front of me, I can’t let the structure of the story suffer because of the time constraint. If I don’t have it finished, edited, covered, and published by the beginning of winter, am I to fire myself? Come on! Ease up, Jeez!

I was going through some old books I had bought over ten years ago, about Book Marketing. The rule of thumb back then was one book per year. It’s changed since the evolution of e-books, and independent publishing, and sometimes alarming to see how fast paced we have become in the last ten years. That’s me looking at the big picture. Now, it’s two, three or four books per year, just to get them out there! Unless, you have an arsenal of books already written, of course, which many independent authors have had, as did I.

This is my point. It took me anywhere from eight months to a year to write the books I have out now. Now, I am pressuring myself to a few months on The Veil? So, after my pep talk, I have decided to go for the quality aspect, and slow my pace on this endeavor. You cannot rush a thriller. So, I’m taking the batteries out of my biological clock.

Thanks for listening. I feel better now…tick-tick, tick tock

August 19, 2012

Tweets Without Blogs

One of my favorite morning rituals is going through my Twitter followers/followings with my cup of coffee, and checking out blog sites and/or websites. I don’t pick up a newspaper anymore because 1) I can read it online and 2) I can’t see anything that’s upbeat and entertaining enough that captures my attention. It’s all about who shot whom, who went to jail for drugs, who beat up whose wife.

Anyway, one of the things that I’m running into on Twitter is that many folks don’t have a blog or website that one can go check out. No place to go check out their writing or WIP. I asked myself, “Self? Can one promote one’s work accordingly just using Twitter?” I suppose you can, but for me, I like to see someone put some real effort into their profession. Anything worth doing, is worth going all out for. Don’t you agree?

I feel like I’ve sold myself short this past month because of my obligations to the job that pays the bills, and taking a bit of time off to reconnect with people. Plus, it’s difficult to stay indoors writing when it’s so gorgeous outside. However, I still have an obligation to myself as a writer to keep plugging away at it. Guilt plagues me.

So, I guess a little advice to those that Tweet: If you do have a blog or website, please include it in your profile. Show us your depth. Give us your perception. And, I know this goes for every author out there. We’re not only writers. We are readers as well. Don’t sell yourself short by just tweeting a link to where your book is being sold. It doesn’t give me a reason that makes me want to go check out your book. I am always looking for material to read. Always! Help us be able to help you. I read anywhere from four to six books at a time and I’m running out of books on my Nook!

What’s your opinion?

August 18, 2012

Another Way To Get Your Words Out

I tried this avenue several years ago and had completely forgotten about it.

You can refer back to one of my older posts  that explains what I’m talking about.

Ezine Articles is a fantastic way to help authors get the word out and also builds your presence. They do have a few rules for submitting an article, one mainly being you cannot put links into the body of your articles to sell yourself. But, you can use the resource box at the end of your article to guide readers to your sites.

You can use some of your blog posts for articles, but again, edit it so there are no links to your sites in the body of your text, otherwise they will kick it back out and ask you to fix it.

It does not cost you anything, and I think it’s well worth the few minutes to sign up and re-post some of your great ideas there.

SEO Baby!

July 28, 2012

Battling With My Demons

I know all of you missed me out there (snicker-snicker) as you wondered, where did she go? I needed to take a much-needed mini vaca with my husband to re-charge my batteries. And his. He insisted we go to the coast for a three-day weekend to get away from our life. I went…kicking and screaming…but so glad we did. This place we went to has no phone, and no internet, so I was forced to try to make my brain  maintain calmness that it isn’t used to. I didn’t have any choice in the matter, so I had to submit.  Of course, I took my laptop knowing that while we were there, I could at least do some writing. I didn’t even do that! This place is nestled by the coastline and amid pines and rolling hills. How can anyone disclaim this natural beauty, ignore it, or take it for granted? I realized this question as I looked out from our friend’s back patio overlooking the green hills covered with Douglas Fir and Myrtlewood trees, and down into a pasture that held a herd of grazing Palomino horses. The sun behind me casting those long romantic shadows across the meadow.

If I’m looking down all of the time, how can I acknowledge this spectacular vision before me? How can I write about it accurately? How can I write about it at all? After all, I didn’t create this landscape. Then and there, I knew I would never be able to escape from writing. Never. Instead of just enjoying the view, here I am staring at a vision and trying to describe it in my head. Trying to make poetry out of this tangible sight, and trying to describe the colors, the smells and the feeling it gives me. I am cursed with this as was my father’s family before me. I simply can’t enjoy the breathtaking view that nature has created. I must make it into words that can convey what is burning into my retina.

So, I take a deep breath in, then exhale. Trying again to let go of the gnawing angst of molding thoughts, sensations, and visions into words. I take a drink of my crappy cup of coffee which has turned cold. The chill reaches the back of my neck and grips me hard, even shakes me a little. You will never be rid of me. I will ride with you until the day you die, little one!  This voice scares me sometimes because it seems more like a demon than something good and creative. Realizing this, I cry a little right then. I am alone, watching a herd of horses, one of them rolling in the grass like a dog, scratching his back, and the demon is scratching my cervical column with its sharp fingernail. That spot right at the base of my skull. If I tell it to leave me be for a time, it laughs hideously and mocks me.

Who is in control here? Certainly not me, I realize.  This curse makes me feel like an outcast among these Oregonians whom I have come to love and respect. I came here from California, where everyone pretty much lived in their own preformed cocoon.

Here, in the Pacific Northwest, people are kind and giving. They are thoughtful in ways I was not accustomed to. They come from a very long line of hardworking families whose hands bled forging this countryside. The landscape is dotted with homes that have been here for one hundred plus years, but still the beauty of this place remains untouched. There are still, to this day, trails that the native Indians formed and used, then the white man came and claimed them making roads for wagon trails. Living here is like stepping back in time. The people who were born and raised here are not naive in any way. Saying that they are “down-to-earth” is putting it mildly. They hunt, they fish, they love to shoot guns, they drink lots of beer and they love to laugh. The men are truly men.

Even though they don’t give themselves away too easily, the thoughts they maintain about living here are so bred within them, they don’t have the need to speak about it. I don’t think they understand me very well because of my lineage and upbringing, but they accept me. I am as curious about them as they are of me, I think. The friend who we were staying with asked me, “Gina, where did your learn to write like that?” His small library is full of books about the history of Oregon, families that settled here, logging, timber species, and even a handbook for Boy Scouts that was old and worn. My answer was, “I don’t know.” I don’t know if it’s a learned thing, or a genetic thing, or both. These people are not into meditation. If you live here, one can’t help but be in a reverent state of mind. They are not into religion, but they believe in God. This magical splendor is their church. Simply looking around is their history, their heritage and their story.

I can’t explain to them about this demon. I don’t want them thinking I’m crazy. So, I only give away bits and pieces of myself when asked. This place that I have chosen as my permanent home is so magical, and chocked full with stories, it’s hard not to write about it.

I am blessed with these people, and this place. And I am cursed with the demon that won’t let my subconscious sleep peacefully. I must learn to integrate the two hemispheres to coincide and insist that they learn to get along together in such a way that it gives me peace.

When it came time to go home, I didn’t want to leave.

July 1, 2012

Are You Going To Put This On Your Blog?

When I read someone’s blog posts, I love to see a part of their personality interjected into it. To me, it makes whomever is writing the blog, more of human being. Informational posts go a long way when I can see a piece of their life mixed in. After all, we are human beings behind our keyboards. We don’t all need to be comedians, but having genuine thoughts as opposed to blathering on about how we should buy your stuff, is irritating to a reader, and will most likely cause them to click off quickly. Say that five times, fast!

What I love seeing in a post:

  • Personality
  • Humor
  • Information/Advice
  • Achievement
  • Goals
  • Interaction

What are some things you can say inside your posts that might attract someone? Think of something hilarious that happened to you that you can relate to your post. Try to step away from the force of having to write something, just to have a post. Make it poignant and original. We want to know you have a beating heart behind our monitors.

What I don’t like seeing:

  • Sell! Sell! Sell!
  • What your cat ate for dinner, unless it was the next door neighbors dog.
  • More selling.
  • Sympathy junkies.
  • It’s All About Me!
  • No connection, or interaction with other bloggers.

There it is. I’ve said my piece, and I feel vindicated.

June 9, 2012

Social Media or Anti-Social Media

Many people are asking a very important question, and the answers seem to be the same.

What are the best ways to spread our words and become recognizable in the indie-publishing environment?

Marketing seems to take a front row seat to the actual process of writing for many authors just starting out in this field, so these questions are legitimate ones. Socializing yourself is huge. We’ve all heard about Twitter. We’ve all heard about Facebook. If you’re not already blogging, stop reading this and go set one up…immediately! Then come back and read the rest of this post. WAIT! I was kidding!

The importance of these social networking sites depends on how much time you want to invest into yourself. Is “yourself” important enough to warrant face time, or tweet time? Of course!

One untapped resource that I haven’t seen too much praise about (although, I’m sure it’s out there) is LinkedIn.

Set up your profile in LinkedIn, making sure you insert your blog site, website, Twitter name, Facebook profile, etc, then go browse some writer’s groups and join some the groups that you like. Make some comments. Read what other members are doing and interact with them.

Interaction is the action word, and keep your eyes on the prize. Sounds like this sentence could be a song. Being interactive will get you some much-needed exposure. Perhaps, you have some good advice to share, or have questions. Put it out there and see what happens!

Whenever I post something to this blog, I “publicize” it to Twitter, and LinkedIn. I’m still on the fence about Facebook, but the fence is starting to buckle under my weight, even amidst my resistance.

I hadn’t been doing too much with LinkedIn in the beginning, but the more I fiddled around there, and interacted, joined some groups, the more comfortable I felt. I was even contacted by a very nice woman in Atlanta, GA that offered her editing services, so you have an outlet for those types of connections as well.

It’s amazing how many people are out there wanting to be in touch with you if you are willing to share your exuberance with them.

So ask yourself, “Self? How thick are you willing to lay it on, so you can share your words with the rest of the world?”

With all of that mentioned, whether you decide to go with the traditional publishing route, or self-publishing (watch my lips) it is very imperative to promote yourself and your work. No one is going to do that for you. It’s not that painful, and can be entertaining and informative.

Thanks for reading and leave your comments if you have other ideas on social sites!

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